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Lovie Smith Is Not the Man to Right the Ship in Tampa

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23: Head Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears watches pregame against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images
Will GroomsCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2016

Seemingly the hottest coaching commodity in the free-agent market, Lovie Smith was quickly acquired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and signed to a multi-year deal Wednesday night (as reported by NFL media insider Ian Rapoport).

The former Chicago Bears head coach experienced limited success in the Windy City due to a poor offense that consistently relied on a superior defense. 

In nine seasons as head coach of Chicago, despite going to a Super Bowl and winning a conference championship, the Smith-led Bears appeared just three times in the playoffs.

The Bears were almost always done in by erratic play at the quarterback position. For the five seasons that Rex Grossman played for the Bears in the Lovie Smith era, three seasons resulted in him throwing at least the same number of interceptions as touchdowns.

Rex Grossman went 19-12 in games started for the Bears
Rex Grossman went 19-12 in games started for the BearsWin McNamee/Getty Images

Kyle Orton didn't fare much better in Grossman's stead, throwing 25 interceptions in two years as a starter.

Jay Cutler's arrival in 2009 provided a spark, but the offense still couldn't take care of the ball. Cutler threw a staggering 63 interceptions in four years under Lovie Smith. 

The mild success Smith experienced in Chicago can be attributed to inheriting eight-time Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher, along with Lance Briggs and other defensive stars, and being given two free wins every year via the Detroit Lions, who went 43-101 during Smith's tenure.

Upon his arrival in Tampa Bay, Smith will inherit an offense that was dead last for passing yards in 2013. However, he will also receive a very good young prospect in quarterback Mike Glennon

What he will also be given is a middle-of-the-pack defense that allowed 348 yards per game in 2013—17th in the NFL. 

He certainly has pieces to work with, but what's also working against him is the landmine schedule that Tampa Bay faces year in and year out in the form of its NFC South opponents. In the last three years, the Buccaneers have won just six of 18 games against teams within the division.

If Greg Schiano didn't work for Tampa Bay, neither will Lovie Smith. They're essentially the same coach. They're both players' coaches with defensive minds who aren't right for the Bucs at this time.

What's more is that Rod Marinelli has been brought in as the team's defensive coordinator, as per his relationship with Smith.

In three years as head coach of the Detroit Lions, Marinelli posted a record of 10-28. 

In 2013 he coached the defensive line of a Dallas Cowboys unit that couldn't pressure the quarterback or stop the run and allowed a league-worst 415.3 yards per game. 

Bad offense will give way to bad defense, and Lovie Smith will once again be out of a job. Two to three years may be as long as he lasts.


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